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10 Tips to Receiving a Fast and Accurate Magazine Quote

So you want to produce a publication for your association, but you don’t know where to start? The best place: get an idea of what each issue would cost to produce. There are many factors to take into consideration when printing a publication, and many of the answers can work against your budget.

Below are 10 questions to ask yourself and your staff prior to submitting a bid request. This will speed up the process of receiving a finished quote as well as eliminate guesswork on the printer’s part.

  1. Will you need the help of a graphic designer or will you supply an electronic print-ready PDF?
  1. How will you generate the content? Do you have a team of writers on staff with the capacity to take on a regularly published publication, or will you need to hire freelance writers?
  1. What is the finish trim size? Many publishers are shrinking their page size to reduce paper waste and the cost of postage. What used to be 8.5” x 11” is often 8.125” x 10.75”.
  2. What paper stock do you want to print on? There are many finishes for paper these days and “white magazine stock” isn’t one of them. White paper is a good start, but is there a feel that you like (gloss, matte, dull, uncoated)? Also, the paper weight and whether or not your magazine is a self-cover (cover pages are the same stock as the interior pages) or plus-cover (cover pages are a different stock) are factors that influence the quote. Whether you want FSC paper stock is another consideration. Don’t think you need to know this offhand. If you need direction, the printer can help you reach a decision.
  3. Ink configuration? It’s not just black and white or all color throughout. But there are options to strategically intersperse color in your publication. For example, printing one 16-page form, 4/1 (full color on one side of the press sheet and black ink on the other) would let you sprinkle in some color pages (1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13 and 16). Please note that it does not cost the same to print color as it does black throughout. Design is often the same, but printing is more expensive with plates and ink for color pages.
  4. Quantity? Are you mailing to all of your current members? What about expired members? What about trade show distribution or promotional mailings? It’s always better to print one time than to go back on press for additional copies later. We don’t guarantee overs – so plan your print quantity with a few extras when getting ready for the quote.
  5. Frequency? How often do you want to produce your publication? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually? Advertising sales often dictates frequency. And when it comes to content, have an editorial plan for the first two years. That’s right, two years. You don’t want to be scrambling for content every issue, which can prolong deadlines and make magazine delivery late – which can then negatively impact your member experience.
  6. What kind of proofs would you like to see? Digital, hard copy for color (matchprint) and/or hard copy for layout (dylux)? The industry standards have shifted to a digital proof only, for both cost and time savings to review and approve; however, most printers will still be able to offer a printed proof for review.
  7. How will the publication bind together? Saddlestitch (staples in the binding) or perfect bind (glued together with a flat edge)? A perfect bound publication is great for archiving – such as if your publication is produced annually and you want your members or consumers to hold onto it for a while. If your distribution frequency is higher and each issue has a shorter shelf life, as is the case with a monthly magazine, saddlestitch is the better route.
  8. How will the publication be distributed? Do you want to mail to your members individually? If so, will you supply the mailing list? Will it be polybagged with the address inkjetted on as the postal sort is completed? Will you want your publication offered in a digital format?

Every printer has a sweet spot to run a publication from start to finish through the shop, all while giving the best value to the client. Providing as much information up front will help your printer zone in and give you an accurate quote.

If you would like to talk through your association’s next project, please do not hesitate to call us.


Article written by:

Melissa O’Brien

Sales Service

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(800) 773-7798

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Traverse City, MI 49686